Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 03/Feb/2006: "Leaving Voicemail Messages"

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Leaving Voicemail Messages

Can it really be so difficult to leave an intelligent message on a voicemail or answering machine? It's one of the things frequently annoying me at work and now I have it here at home as well. Useless messages on my voicemail at work and now on my answering machine at home. At work it usually goes like this:

Message on my voicemail: Hi, xyz here, can you call me back?

Me calling back after looking up the number, only getting the voicemail: Hi xyz, it's Armin, calling you back as you requested. I'm at my desk for the next hour or so.

5 hours later I return from a meeting, tired and ready to go home. Voicemail again: Hi, xyz here, I urgently need you to call me back! I'm on 1234

I call back. You have reached the voicemail of xyz, please leave a message Me leaving another message: Hi xyz, got your message and am calling you back. I'm off home now, I've had enough of voicemail ping pong.

Next morning my phone rings: Hi, it's xyz. I urgently need this and that data, I've got a review meeting this afternoon. Me, thinking: And why didn't you leave this on your voicemail message yesterday? You could have had this data yesterday lunchtime. And then it's a scramble to get the data together. Followed by me being pissed off because this could have been achieved much easier and more efficient with a clear voicemail message.

Can it be so difficult to leave an intelligent message? Like what you are calling about and/or what information you're after?

When I came home from work this evening I had an interesting message on my answering machine. With a strong German accent it said something like Hi, this is Hans Mustermann, I would like you to call me back on 01234 (that's the area code) 123 456. (Hans Mustermann is the German version of Joe Bloggs/John Doe and the number obviously isn't the real one either. Just protecting the innocent).

I didn't recognise the voice or the name. Unless the caller wanted to practise his English he obviously hadn't done his research, otherwise he probably would have left the message in German (After all I grew up there, so I understand it quite well...). I have no idea who the caller is. I have no idea what the caller wanted (well, apart from me calling him back).

How likely am I going to call him back now? Fairly unlikely.

Lesson from this? If you want me to call you back let me know who you are, what you want and why I should call you back. Give me a reason to call you back. Give me enough information to allow me to prepare for the call if necessary.

(That's enough voicemail silliness! Call me back... Ed.)

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